Jedi Apprentice: The Death of Hope

February 13, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

hopeJedi Apprentice: The Death of Hope by Jude Watson

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Picking up just moments after The Ties That BindThe Death of Hope continues with Qui-Gon chasing after Tahl, his newly-beloved, after she’s been kidnapped by the Absolutes, a totalitarian group that wants to regain control of the planet Apsolon. The story focuses primarily on his and Obi-Wan’s search for her, neatly twisting the Master/Apprentice relationship on its head, as Obi-Wan now has to act as the voice of reason against Qui-Gon’s impetuosity.

The problem is that the whole thing makes little sense. I get that Watson upped the stakes for Qui-Gon by making his relationship with Tahl more romantic, but it doesn’t ring true to me for a couple of reasons. For one, the Jedi aren’t supposed to form these attachments, and Qui-Gon and Tahl are both characters who adhere to their edicts pretty strongly. Sure, Qui-Gon has a reputation for breaking the rules when his feelings tell him otherwise (see: The Ties That Bind), but this is a core part of his Jedi training that he overlooks without much angst or consideration. Both have a moment of hesitation before declaring their love for the other, but it’s brief.

For another, the two were already close friends, and had been for years, before reaching this point in the last book. I’d like to think that, without their pledging their lives to each other in the previous book, Qui-Gon would still be going on this chase to find her. Instead, she creates a forced relationship that only serves to drive Qui-Gon forward. It bothers me, because their relationship before was one that supported the idea that men and women could be friends without it becoming anything more, but now it’s just another romantic subplot used to drive a man’s character development. It’s disappointing, especially in a juvenile series where Tahl serves as a strong role model for young women.

If Watson had made this just a subplot, I could overlook it to some degree, but this is the main plot for the entire book. I think Watson is trying to show us how attachment can be bad for Jedi, giving us some foreshadowing into Obi-Wan’s relationship with Anakin in about fifteen years’ time, but by converting Tahl from an independent character into Qui-Gon’s girlfriend, she turns her into a trope instead of a fully realized character. She captures the emotion well (enough so that I’m surprised this is a book written for younger children), but she also does a disservice to one of her best characters.

This book is such a disappointment. I may have been predisposed to finding fault with it once I realized in the last book that Watson was setting up Tahl to be another woman in the refrigerator, but this book made it clear. There was no reason related to the plot for Tahl to die, save to spur Qui-Gon down his own path of development.

 

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